Texas A&M Aggies: Kansas Jayhawks

Big 12 all-BCS-era team

January, 13, 2014
Jan 13
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After 16 years, the BCS era is finally over. Next season, college football will have a playoff instead.

With the BCS done, we've come up with our Big 12 all-BCS era team (1998-2013) below:

Offense

[+] EnlargeVince Young
Scott Clarke/Getty ImagesWith Vince Young at the helm, Texas won a national title and Rose Bowl.
QB: Vince Young, Texas (2003-05) -- Young led Texas to its first national title in 35 years with an unforgettable performance in the Rose Bowl against USC. The Heisman runner-up also became the first QB in college football history to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 in the same season.

RB: Ricky Williams, Texas (1998) -- Williams was part of the BCS era for only one season, but what a season it was. He rushed for 2,327 yards and won the Heisman Trophy going away. Only Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne has more career rushing yards than Williams (6,279).

RB: Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma (2004-06) -- Despite battling injuries throughout his career, Peterson still was a beast in college. After rushing for 1,925 yards while leading the Sooners to the national title game, he finished second in the ’04 Heisman voting, even though there was still a stigma then in voting for a freshman.

WR: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech (2007-08) -- Crabtree became the first two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation’s top receiver. In '08, he and QB Graham Harrell led the Red Raiders to an upset of Texas and a No. 2 ranking in the polls.

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State (2009-11) -- Blackmon became the second and only other two-time winner of the Biletnikoff. In his final two seasons, he finished with 233 receptions, 3,304 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns, and he helped propel the Cowboys to their first Big 12 title in '11.

TE: Chase Coffman, Missouri (2005-08) -- Coffman had a monster statistical college career for a tight end with 247 catches for 2,659 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns. He won the ’08 Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end. Missouri won 37 games during the four years Coffman was in the lineup.

OT: Jammal Brown, Oklahoma (2001-04) -- Brown was a unanimous All-American and a three-time All-Big 12 selection. He became the fifth Sooner to win the Outland Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top interior lineman.

OT: Russell Okung, Oklahoma State (2007-09) -- In Okung’s final two seasons, Oklahoma State led the Big 12 in rushing yards. The Cowboys were also third in the country in ’07 in fewest sacks allowed with Okung at left tackle. He was a unanimous All-American and Outland finalist in ’09 and became the sixth overall pick in the ’10 NFL draft.

OG: Cyril Richardson, Baylor (2010-13) -- Richardson became Baylor’s seventh all-time unanimous All-American. The Outland finalist was also a key piece on the nation’s highest-scoring offense this season.

OG: Justin Blalock, Texas (2003-06) -- Though a guard in the NFL, Blalock actually started 50 games for Texas, most coming at right tackle. He was a three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection and a consensus All-American in 2006.

C: Dominic Raiola, Nebraska (1998-2000) -- Raiola was the inaugural winner of the Rimington Award, named after former Nebraska center Dave Rimington, which recognizes the best center in college football. He was an Outland finalist and a consensus All-American.

APB: Darren Sproles, Kansas State (2001-04) -- One of the most prolific all-purpose performers in college football history, Sproles finished his career with 6,812 all-purpose yards. Among his 39 consecutive starts, his most memorable performance came in the ’03 Big 12 championship, when he had 235 yards rushing and 88 receiving, as K-State upset top-ranked Oklahoma 35-7.

Defense

DE: Brian Orakpo, Texas (2005-08) -- Orakpo captured the ’08 Nagurski Award as the most outstanding defensive player in the country, and the Lombardi Award, given to the best college lineman or linebacker. He also was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American while piling up 11 sacks his senior year.

DE: Von Miller, Texas A&M (2007-10) -- Out of a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role, Miller led the nation with 17 sacks in ’09. He was a two-time All-American and won the Butkus Award in ’10 as the nation’s top linebacker.

DT: Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska (2005-09) -- There was no more dominant defensive player in college football during the BCS era. Suh finished fourth in the Heisman voting in ’09 and won several national awards, including the Outland, Lombardi, Nagurski (most outstanding defensive player)and Bednarik (defensive player of the year). He was also a unanimous All-American and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

DT: Tommie Harris, Oklahoma (2001-03) -- Harris was a force from the beginning as a freshman on the OU defensive line. He won the Lombardi his junior year, and he was a two-time consensus All-American, garnering unanimous honors in ’03.

LB: Derrick Johnson, Texas (2001-04) -- Johnson was a menacing linebacker for the Longhorns, earning consensus All-American honors in ’03 and unanimous honors in ’04. He was also a three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection, and won the Butkus (best linebacker) and Nagurski awards as a senior. Johnson finished his career with 458 tackles.

LB: Rocky Calmus, Oklahoma (1998-2001) -- Calmus played a major role in OU’s resurgence under Bob Stoops. He won the Butkus in ’01 and was a finalist for the Nagurski and Bednarik. A three-time All-Big 12 pick, Calmus led the Sooners in tackles in all three of those seasons.

LB: Teddy Lehman, Oklahoma (2000-03) -- Lehman too won the Butkus, beating out Johnson for the award in ’03. He also was Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, captured the Bednarik, was a unanimous All-American and played in two national championship games.

[+] EnlargeTavon Austin
Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesWest Virginia receiver and returner Tavon Austin had a huge 2012 season.
CB: Terence Newman, Kansas State (1999-2002) -- Newman was a solid player for Bill Snyder his first three seasons, then broke out as a senior. Newman was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, a unanimous All-American and the Thorpe winner, given to college football’s top defensive back.

CB: Derrick Strait, Oklahoma (2000-03) -- A four-year starter, Strait finished with a school-record 52 career pass breakups. He also won the Thorpe, and was a unanimous All-American.

S: Roy Williams, Oklahoma (1999-2001) -- Nicknamed “Superman,” Williams was the Big 12’s most dominating defensive player until Suh came along. He won the Thorpe and Nagurski in ’01, and was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American the same season. He also famously skied over the Texas offensive line to force the game-clinching interception to earn his moniker.

S: Michael Huff, Texas (2002-05) -- Huff became the first Longhorn to win the Thorpe, and was the leader of the ’05 national championship defense. He was also a unanimous All-American that season.

Special teams

K: Mason Crosby, Colorado (2003-06) -- Crosby was three-time, first-team All-Big 12 selection, and twice was a consensus All-American even though he never won the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation's top kicker. He was also the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior, and converted 66 field goals in his career.

P: Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma State (2009-12) -- Sharp became the first three-time All-American in Oklahoma State history, and he earned All-American honors both as a punter and a kicker. He was twice named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year. In his career, he made 50 of 59 field goals, averaged 45.9 yards per punt and missed only one extra point.

KR: Tavon Austin, West Virginia (2012) -- Austin was in the Big 12 only one season, but he was unstoppable that one season. On top of being one of the most dangerous kick returners in the country, Austin had 1,289 yards receiving and 643 rushing, and finished second in the country in all-purpose yards.

PR: Ryan Broyles Oklahoma (2008-11) -- On top of being a prolific punt returner, Broyles was one of the most efficient receivers in college football history. He finished his career with an FBS-record 349 receptions, and was a two-time consensus All-American before a knee injury cut his senior season short.
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As expected, Day 2 at the Under Armour All-America practices were smoother, more concise and much more productive. The players are now starting to think less and play more. Natural ability is starting to come to the forefront, which allows for them to be more productive. There have been fewer dropped passes, fewer misses by the QBs and the offensive lines are starting to jell quicker than expected. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this group is there have not been any true letdowns. They have stepped up and been as advertised almost top to bottom for both squads. Let’s hit the highlights of the day:

Top performers

WR Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish): Sims might not wow anyone with his 40-yard dash time, but it may not matter. Sims is so similar to Mike Evans at Texas A&M. He just makes plays. He has extremely long arms and is outstanding when in contested matchups. The ball will look like it is uncatchable and then next thing you know he jumps out of nowhere, extends and makes a play and the defender is left scratching his head. When it comes down to it, the QBs for Team Highlight can trust that if they need to throw it up, Sims will make a play. The most basic thing about the position is catching the football and Sims has no problem doing that.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Da'Shawn Hand changing his visit schedule up is good news for Wolverine fans and bad news for Alabama fans; Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M fans can see big pieces of their 2014 recruiting classes on television Friday night; and one of the top juco recruits in last year’s class is going to redshirt at Kansas.

Looking good for the Wolverines
Five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) was set to visit Florida on Oct. 4 for its game against Arkansas and Alabama on Nov. 8 for its game against LSU with national title implications on the line. However, the SAT is on Oct. 5, causing Hand to alter his schedule. Hand is still ironing out the final details, but it looks like he will visit Alabama on Oct. 25 when its hosts Tennessee, and he'll trip to Florida on Nov. 8 when the Gators host Vanderbilt. He’s already taken a visit to Michigan and will announce his decision on Nov. 14. The Wolverines have been his leader for quite some time with Florida and then Alabama next in line. Some observers have long-worried what a visit to Alabama for what could be the game of the year would do to Hand’s process. But a college coach close to the situation believes the change now gives Michigan a major edge and puts Bama clearly third in the pack. “I would say this puts it at about 80 percent for Michigan,” the coach said. “The biggest question left is whether or not Florida can wow him enough right before his announcement to get him to change his mind.”

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Live blog: SEC media days

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
8:00
AM ET
Join our ESPN.com college football experts for a live blog from SEC media days. We'll have highlights, pictures, videos and interviews with SEC players and coaches from Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt live from Hoover, Ala.

Join us beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET by submitting your comments and questions. See you there. You can also view all the action on ESPNU or WatchESPN.com.

Here is our live blog of Day 1 and Day 2 in case you missed it.

Live blog: SEC media days

July, 17, 2013
7/17/13
8:30
AM ET
Join our ESPN.com college football experts for a live blog from SEC media days. We'll have highlights, pictures, videos and interviews with SEC players and coaches from Texas A&M, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas live from Hoover, Ala.

Join us beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET by submitting your comments and questions. See you there. You can also view all the action on ESPNU or WatchESPN.com.

Here is our live blog of Day 1 in case you missed it.

Each week this spring, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you notes/nuggets from watching and visiting with high school football prospects in the Greater Houston area that week. He will include observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players who catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

MANVEL, Texas -- For some, camps are a chance for players to show college coaches that they're worthy of an offer. For those who have more offers than they can fathom, it's a chance to watch, interact and visit with the coaches to get a feel for the program's staff.


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HornDamon Sayles/ESPNMesquite Horn won the Camp of Conquerors 7-on-7 Tournament.

CEDAR HILL, Texas -- The second annual Mike Adams Camp of Conquerors 7-on-7 tournament featured 13 of the top 7-on-7 teams in the Dallas area on Saturday. The tournament, put on by the NFL defensive back, gives the opportunity to win $5,000 for the winning 7-on-7 program.

Early Saturday evening, Mesquite (Texas) Horn defeated Cedar Hill to walk away with the championship.

Here is what we learned after the event:

Horn WR the talk of the tournament

Horn all spring has shown that it’s more than quarterback Destri White, Rice cornerback commit Jorian Clark and a talented group of linemen that features Baylor commit Andrew Morris and 2015 standout offensive tackle Conner Dyer. On Saturday, Del’Michael High reminded everyone of just how good he is.

High, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound wide receiver, was borderline unstoppable throughout the tournament, and he was a big reason why Horn went undefeated. In the championship game against Cedar Hill, High was able to score wins in several one-on-one battles, some featuring talented Oklahoma cornerback commit Marcus Green.

High hasn’t been on the recruiting radar, but he showed tools of being one of the top receivers in the state on Saturday. He admittedly said that part of his lack of recruiting exposure might be because of academics, but he added that he’s been focused more than ever to make sure his work off the field is as solid as his work on it.

Bishop Dunne DB targets going both ways


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This spring, South Houston (Texas) High School receiver Elton Dyer saw several colleges pass through his campus and show interest in him.

In the summer he's hoping that interest translates to more offers.


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TYLER, Texas -- East Texas often is considered one of the nation’s most underrated areas in finding elite talent when it comes to college football recruiting. Sunday featured the inaugural East Texas Sports Network combine, which showcased more than 100 players from East Texas.

The event took place at the Accelerate Performance Enhancement Center (APEC) training facility, which has trained professionals such as quarterback Graham Harrell, running back Kendall Hunter and pro baseball pitchers Phillip Humber and Josh Tomlin.


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Each week this spring, GigEmNation reporter Sam Khan Jr. will bring you notes and nuggets from watching and visiting with high school football prospects in the Greater Houston area that week, including observations of Texas A&M commitments and targets and other players that catch his attention. Here's this week's installment:

MANVEL, Texas -- Plenty of colleges have their eyes affixed on Manvel (Texas) High School because of 2014 prospect Koda Martin, who we profiled in-depth last week, but there are plenty more reasons for coaches to keep stopping by the school just south of Houston.

[+] EnlargeKemah Siverand
Sam Khan Jr./ESPNTexas and Texas A&M are stopping by soon to check out Class of 2015 wideout Kemah Siverand.
The 2013 class was loaded with the likes of receivers Austin Bennett (Oklahoma), Kyrion Parker (Texas A&M) and Carlos Thompson (Texas Tech), cornerback Tavares Garner (Texas A&M), defensive tackle Dewan Edmonson (UTEP), quarterback Shane McCarley (Old Dominon) and center Travis Romero (Southeastern Louisiana). Martin headlines a 2014 class that also includes a large defensive tackle, 6-foot-6, 280-pound Justin Gardner.

Last season was Gardner's first on varsity and he's getting interest from Houston, Maryland and Texas Tech. His size and athleticism will get him looks and Manvel coach Kirk Martin is looking for a big senior season from Gardner.

There are prospects in the 2015 class as well but the class to watch at Manvel is the 2016 group, where two potential stars are: safety Deontay Anderson and receiver Reggie Hemphill.

Hemphill received playing time on varsity last season alongside Bennett, Parker and Thompson. The 6-2, 170-pounder was a big-play threat, averaging 40 yards per reception (10 catches, 400 yards) and hauling in six touchdowns, including an 80-yarder. Anderson is 6-1, 180 and racked up 55 tackles last season but he also has the ability to line up at receiver and be a weapon there for the Mavericks. Both are going to hit the camp circuit this summer in an effort to impress college coaches. Both are fast, athletic talents with good size who should be stars at Manvel and likely big-time prospects down the road.

As for Koda Martin, he looks the part of a tight end at 6-6, 247. He has enough strength for the defensive side of the ball, which some schools are recruiting him to play. Should he end up at offensive tackle, the position Texas A&M sees him playing, he'll have to grow into the position, weight-wise. But considering his instincts and intelligence, plus his experience as a blocker when he plays tight end, that adjustment should be smooth should he have to make it.

Several to watch at Houston Cypress Ridge
In an effort to simulate the fall and get some quality work in, Houston Cypress Ridge is scrimmaging under the Friday Night Lights during spring practice. The Rams got after it this past Friday and several players showed why they are on the college football radar.

Class of 2014 offensive guard Willie Wright is a quality player on the Rams' offensive line, lining up at tackle. Wright looked solid on Friday and already has an offer from Houston, with UTSA also showing interest.

Class of 2015 receiver Kemah Siverand is already on schools' radars. He has a good mix of size (6-foot, 178) and speed (4.56-second 40-yard dash) and he's still learning the receiver position. Texas and Texas A&M are expected to stop by Cy Ridge in the next two weeks to see Siverand and he has visited both.


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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- ESPN Watch List offensive tackle Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe) has taken the last few weeks to sit back and relax.


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SAN ANTONIO -- Wednesday was a day off for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl teams. Instead of working out and participating in drills, the players took in visits around the city -- including a stop at the Alamodome for photo opportunities and to see their game apparel -- and used the day to recover from two days of practice.

The teams will return to the fields on Thursday in arguably the most important practice of the week. Here are five things to keep an eye on for Thursday’s practice:

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Thanksgiving: Not same without A&M-Texas

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
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A year ago this Thursday night, I was roaming the sidelines at Kyle Field with a belly full of turkey and a gut full of anticipation.

You could feel it anywhere you went in College Station the whole day, whether fans were wearing maroon or burnt orange. There's a special atmosphere that looms over any game like that.

Fans want it more than any game on the schedule and the last century of college football has given us only a handful of games like that between teams of two fan bases who truly despise one another 365 days a year, culminating on one night to decide bragging rights for the next 365 days.

Texas owns those bragging rights for now via a 27-25 win last year that happened somehow, apparently. Looking back on it, I'm still not sure how.

This year, TCU comes into town to face Texas on Thanksgiving night. Texas A&M hosts Missouri two days later.

It's not the same. TCU's all well and good and it should be a fun game. They're not Texas A&M. The crowd in Austin will tell you that from start to finish.

Despite what either side will tell you, it's both of their faults this game isn't happening this year. Texas warned Texas A&M: Leave the Big 12, and this rivalry is over.

Texas A&M left the Big 12. Texas stuck to its word.

Now, here we are.

(For the record, these same things apply to Missouri and Kansas. KU, call me when you win a Big 12 game. Missouri, call me when you stop losing to Vanderbilt and Syracuse at home. Texas A&M and Texas could both still crash the BCS this year.)

It's pettiness on both sides. Texas A&M's first year in the SEC has been a fun one, but they're also living in a world in which No. 9 in the BCS is good for third in its division and fifth in its conference. Winning its second conference title in almost two decades will be an uphill battle, even if the Aggies are most certainly headed in the right direction under new coach Kevin Sumlin.

Texas is headed in the right direction, too, and a Big 12 title remains a possibility. Still, this weekend lacks the punch it has for the better part of the past 100 years.

College football fans are suffering because of the bickering of two high-powered programs.

Texas A&M left, but Texas holds the key to bringing back one of college football's greatest rivalry games on an annual basis.

As much as Texas fans are looking forward to Ole Miss coming to Austin next year, I think they'll be forgiving if you replace the Rebels with the team folks in Austin love to pretend they don't care about.

It's good for the bottom line. It's good for the state of Texas. It's good for the game of college football.

Texas wants to stick to its word. It doesn't want to look wishy-washy. I get that. Truth is, neither team needs this game more than the other. Both want it, though, as much as Texas fans want to pretend they don't.

Pretend you're taking the high road if you'd like, but just bring it back. A world of thanks from the world of college football awaits.

Aggies land juco OLB Kenny Flowers 

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
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Texas A&M has made sure that Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College outside linebacker Kenny Flowers knew that he was a priority.

[+] EnlargeKenny Flowers
Courtesy of Hutchinson C.C.Kenny Flowers committed to Texas A&M over offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia.
The constant contact and effort that the Aggies put into recruiting the 6-foot-2, 228-pound prospect paid off in a big way Friday, when he called the coaches to commit to Texas A&M.

Flowers made the commitment on Friday afternoon and the December graduate is excited to be joining the program in a couple of months. He chose the Aggies over offers from Arkansas, Kansas, Kansas State and West Virginia. It was Texas A&M's aggressiveness in its pursuit that made the difference.

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This summer, Texas A&M dipped into the junior college ranks to add to an area of need in its 2013 recruiting class: defensive tackle.

The result was the commitment of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College defensive tackle Rob Zimmerman, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound prospect who committed to the Aggies in July.

This weekend, when the Aggies host South Carolina State at Kyle Field, Zimmerman will be one of two official visitors expected to be on hand. The other is his Hutchinson teammate, outside linebacker Kenny Flowers.

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With already more than 100 ranked prospects committed, assistant coaches nationwide have been hard at work on the recruiting trail. National recruiting reporter Jeremy Crabtree joins Phil Murphy to rank the best among them.Tags: B.J. Anderson, Texas A&M Aggies, Jeremy Pruitt, Georgia Bulldogs, ESPN 300, RecruitingNation, high school football recruiting, Phil Murphy, Jeremy Crabtree
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